Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mediterranean Fish Restaurants in London

Affluent Knightsbridge has many up-market restaurants, appealing to all tastes and flavours and is also home to the infamous Lorenzo's; an Italian restaurant regularly frequented by celebrities. Many of those establishments offer Mediterranean-inspired fare and also specialise in fish dishes, but some of them are facing a salmon shortage due to a mini-marine disaster off the coast of Northern Ireland which has resulted in the loss of over 100,000 salmon.

Beautiful Salmon dish

Ironically, the cause of the disaster is a tiny, purplish jellyfish which normally inhabits Mediterranean waters and frequently stings swimmers. Billions of the Pelagia Nocticula, colloquially known as mauve stingers attacked the salmon in their cages and there was nothing that could be done to save any of the fish. Their total loss has cost the farm owners Northern Salmon at least £1million, threatening the entire future of the company.

Dismayed managing director John Russell, who only joined the company three days before the disaster said: "I've never seen anything like it in 30 years of fish farming. It was unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with the jellyfish and we were unable to do a thing about it, absolutely nothing."

The attack lasted almost seven hours and spread throughout the farm's entire 35 feet deep, 10 square mile matrix of cages, wiping out the entire salmon stock. Although workers in three boats were despatched to try and save the salmon the sheer density of the jelly fish in the water slowed them down preventing them from reaching the cages in time to save the farm's fish.

This catastrophic loss of salmon will have a huge impact on the specialist fish and Mediterranean restaurants in London who are big customers of Northern Salmon Ltd. In the short term prices are likely to rise and may even disappear off the menu altogether until London's top restaurants can source an alternative supply. The company also supplied fish to first-class restaurants in the USA, Belgium, France and Germany, but this disaster means the likely end of those lucrative business relationships.

Global warming is being blamed for this disaster, as scientists point out that 10 years ago mauve stingers were rarely seen outside of the Mediterranean Sea; migration this far north is proof that it is happening, they say. But that is a moot point to Northern Salmon Ltd whose future is now firmly in the hands of the government. Newly appointed MD Russell says that unless they receive emergency aid from the Northern Ireland parliament then the company will fold.
Isla Campbell is an online, freelance journalist and avid traveler and pilates devotee. When not on the road she lives on the outskirts of Oban.